Below is the first edition of our bi-weekly battleground election updates. These are quick hits on new developments in key Texas races.
U.S. Senate Race
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), running for his fourth term in the U.S. Senate, has already drawn a field of notable competition.
- Democratic contenders include MJ Hegar (retired Air Force pilot), Royce West (state senator from Dallas), Amanda Edwards (Houston city council member), Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez (co-founder of Workers Defense Project), Chris Bell (former congressman), Adrian Ocegueda (former policy advisor for mayor of El Paso), Jack Daniel Foster Jr. (teacher), Sema Hernandez (activist), and Michael Cooper (auto sales manager).
- Beto O’Rourke recently told MSNBC that he would not run for the Senate in 2020.
- Two Republicans have filed to challenge Cornyn. Dwayne Stovall has worked in the oil industry and currently owns a bridge construction business. Mark Yancey, who has had a career in the investment industry, also filed to run, but has made no campaign announcements.
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX-11) has represented the district since winning the seat in 2004, but will be retiring at the end of his term. Since Conaway’s announcement, several Republicans have entered the primary race.
- In early August, Republican J.Ross Lacy, a businessman and Midland city councilman filed to run for the seat. Lacy has secured the influential endorsement of Ernie Angelo, who served as the co-chair on Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign.
- Ross Schumann and Wesley Virdell have since also declared their campaigns for the Republican primary. Wacey Alpha Cody filed to run before Conaway’s announcement.
- Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury) was rumored to be considering a run, but announced his reelection campaign for his current seat instead.
- One Democrat, San Angelo lawyer Jon Mark Hogg, has also filed to run for the seat.
- Jeffery Cady has announced his campaign as an Independent.
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX-22) is another retiring congressman. Unlike Conaway’s district, which is likely to stay Republican, the 22nd congressional district has been chosen as a target by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
- Several Democrats filed to run before Olson’s announcement and began funding ahead of the Republicans running in their primary:
- Sri Preston Kulkarni previously challenged Olson and lost by a margin of less than five points. He has already raised over $400,000, more than any other candidate so far. Kulkarni served as a policy advisor to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
- Nyanza Davis Moore is an attorney and raised a little over $70,000 at the end of last quarter.
- Derrick Reed sits on the Pearland city council.
- Five Republicans have filed to run for the seat since Olson’s announcement: Greg Hill (judge), Matthew Page Hinton, Howard Lynn Steele, Kathaleen Wall (former candidate in the 2nd congressional district), Joe Walz (veteran and businessman).
Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX-23) also announced that he would be leaving Congress at the end of his term, opening the seat up that was already chosen as a target by the DCCC.
- Five candidates have filed to run in the Democratic primary:
- Gina Ortiz Jones is the clear frontrunner in the race at the moment. The Air Force veteran and former senior trade advisor with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative ran against Hurd in 2018 for the first time and lost by a margin of 0.5 percent, less than a thousand votes. At the end of the last fundraising quarter, she had already raised nearly $600,000.
- The other Democratic candidates are Rosalinda Ramos Abuabara (activist), Jaime Escuder, Liz Wahl (reporter), and Brandyn Joseph Waterman.
- Four Republicans have also filed:
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24) is yet another retiree with a district chosen as a target by the DCCC.
- Seven candidates have entered the Democratic primary:
- Kim Olson, who served in the Air Force and ran as a Democrat for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture in 2018, has emerged as the frontrunner, raising $303,000 by the end of the last quarter.
- Crystal Fletcher, an attorney, raised about $106,000.
- Candace Valenzuela, who serves as a representative on the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District board, trails closely in funding with a reported $82,000.
- Other Democrats running in the race include Jan McDowell (certified public accountant), John Biggan (cognitive neuroscientist and teacher), Will Fisher (business lawyer), and Richard Fleming (tax consulting firm owner).
- Since Marchant’s announcement, several Republicans have also entered the race:
- Beth Van Duyne has emerged as the frontrunner in the GOP primary with several notable endorsements, including from Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-2), State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving), Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn, Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson, and former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Chad Hennings.
- Other Republicans who have filed include Suneetha Chaparala, David Fegan, and Michael Moates.
- State Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) is expected to face tough opposition in his race from Democrats, but so far only one opponent has filed to run against him: Xochil Peña Rodriguez.
- In the last election, Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) narrowly flipped the open seat. In July, Holly Newton filed to run for the seat as a Republican. Three other Republicans had already announced: Carrie Isaac, Austin Talley, and Bud Wymore.
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- Adrian Ocegueda
- Alma Arredondo-Lynch
- Amanda Edwards
- Austin Talley
- Ben Van Winkle
- Beth Van Duyne
- Beto O'Rourke
- Brandyn Joseph Waterman
- Bud Wymore
- Candace Valenzuela
- Carrie Isaac
- Chris Bell
- Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez
- Crystal Fletcher
- David Fegan
- Derrick Reed
- Dwayne Stovall
- Erin Zwiener
- Gina Ortiz Jones
- Greg Hill
- Holly Newton
- Howard Steele
- J.Ross Lacy
- Jack Daniel Foster Jr.
- Jaime Escuder
- Jan McDowell
- Jeffery Cady
- Joe Walz
- John Biggan
- John Cornyn
- Jon Mark Hogg
- Kathaleen Wall
- Kenny Marchant
- Kim Olson
- Liz Wahl
- Mark Yancey
- Matt Hinton
- Michael Cooper
- Michael Moates
- Mike Conaway
- Mike Lang
- MJ Hegar
- Nyanza Moore
- Pete Flores
- Raul Reyes
- Richard Fleming
- Rosalinda Ramos Abuabara
- Ross Schumann
- Royce West
- Sema Hernandez
- Sri Preston Kulkarni
- Suneetha Chaparala
- Tony Gonzales
- Wacey Alpha Cody
- Wesley Virdell
- Will Fisher
- WIll Hurd
- Xochil Peña Rodriguez
Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.